WGU Receives Grant to Support Underserved Students Impacted by COVID-19
Western Governors University (WGU) and WGU Advancement-the university's fundraising arm-announced today that the university will be able to implement four projects that remove barriers to quality, access, and outcomes across the education-to-opportunity lifecycle that have been a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Given COVID-19's impact on higher education-from permanent campus closures to decreased public spending on programs that help underserved students attending public colleges and universities-WGU anticipates a significant increase in the number of displaced students in the short-term. The goals of the grant-funded initiative are increasing the percentage of students that complete degree programs on time, boosting the economic return for graduates, and expanding equitable access and attainment to students.
"This initiative has a clear focus on supporting underserved students-primarily low-income and minority populations-that have been displaced due to the pandemic's impact on higher education," said Annalisa Holcombe, President of WGU Advancement. "COVID-19, combined with pre-existing dynamics in higher education such as declining public funding and student debt, make intentional and collaborative initiatives like this even more important to support our most vulnerable students."
WGU has outlined four distinct focus projects as part of the initiative:
"The support provided by this professional development program will enable an additional 300 CUNY faculty and instructional staff to further improve the online- and hybrid-learning experiences of our students throughout the University," said CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost José Luis Cruz. "While many CUNY faculty had taught online prior to the Spring 2020 semester, this four-part webinar series, thanks to the generosity of our partners at Western Governors University and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will help them further develop their online teaching strategies, as remote learning continues to play a transformative role across the higher education landscape."
About WGU Advancement
WGU Advancement is a nonprofit fundraising foundation created by Western Governors University to expand access to and accelerate innovation in education. A 501(c)(3) organization, Advancement's focus is on complementing and enhancing the WGU vision to reinvigorate the promise of higher education. In addition to scholarships and other initiatives aimed at increasing access, Advancement raises funds to support development of innovative programs, research, and technologies that will improve educational quality and student outcomes. Learn more at www.wgu.edu/advancement.
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 123,000 students nationwide and has more than 190,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation's leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today's rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR (News - Alert), NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.